The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
c .~: .,s-,r ~
Common Names of Weeds
Botanical Names of Weeds
Cucumis melo var. chito
Ludwigia octovalvis and L. peruviana
Florida Weeds Part II was written by J. R. Orsenigo, former professor of plant physiology, Agri-
cultural Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, with contributions by the following: D. S. Bur-
gis, professor of horticulture, Agricultural Research and Education Center, Bradenton; W. L. Currey,
associate professor of agronomy, Gainesville; D. W. Hall, assistant in botany, Gainesville; W. T. Scud-
der, professor of horticulture, Agricultural Research and Education Center, Sanford; T. J. Stelter,
technical representative, Rohm & Haas, West Palm Beach; and D. B. Ward, professor of botany and
curator of The Herbarium, Gainesville.
This circular is Part II in a series developed to supplement
"Weeds of the Southern United States." It is designed to
cover more adequately weeds of specific interest to Florida
that are not represented in the regional publication. Specific
weeds included herein result from suggestions by a letter sur-
vey originating with the University of Florida Weed Science
Workshop and with county agricultural agents of the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service. Insofar as possible, botanical
and common names used in the text have been those recom-
mended by The Subcommittee on Standardization of Com-
mon and Botanical Names of Weeds as published in Weeds
Woody plants with acrid juice sometimes contain-
ing a poisonous substance. Afltern'ate leaves, small
flowers. Mostly pantropical.
Schinus terebinthifolius .
Shrub or small tree to more than 20 feet, often
diffuse and sprawling. Smooth bark of young
plants develops into rough, furrowed, scaly bark
on older trees. Evergreen leaves pinnately com-
pound. Individual leaflets opposite, elliptic, with
smooth, wavy, or toothed margins. White flowers
form terminal panicles. Bright red ripe fruit,
3/16 inch diameter are borne in clusters. Aggres-
sive invader in south Florida, attractive to and
probably spread by birds. Common occupant of
disturbed and wastelands. May have some orna-
mental value. Commonly miscalled "Florida P
Woody shrubs or trees with alternate, simple
leaf-blades, mainly evergreen. Flowers bi- or uni-
sexual, petals white or greenish white, fruit a
drupe. Temperate and tropical.
Shrubs up to 5 feet tall with finely hairy stems.
Leaf-blades 1 to 2 inches long, leathery, ever-
green, variable, but mainly elliptic, deep-green
and shiny upper face. Fruit black, about 1/4 inch
diameter. A smaller form with red, pointed fruit
may be found in south Florida. Common to sandy .
flat woods. '
Trees or shrubs, with fibrous woody trunks usu-
ally erect, rarely branching, crowned by leaves.
Petioles mainly long, woody, and frequently
toothed, base of petiole often sheathing bud. Leaf
blades pinnate or palmately cleft. Floral shoot
arises from a spathe in or below the leaf crown;
may be bi- or uni-sexual. Inflorescence colors
range from white, to yellowish, to greenish. Fruit
a one-seeded drupe or berry. Mainly tropical and
Branched or simple stem, erect, inclined, or pros-
trate. Horizontal stems root on ground contact.
Terminal crown of leaves usually erect. Leaves
fan-like up to 3 feet wide, bright green or with
waxy bloom. Spiny petioles. Mature fruit a blue-
black drupe 3/ inch diameter or less. Common to
Herbs with milky, acrid juice, entire opposite
leaves, compound flower heads, five stamens ad-
herent to pistil, with corona. Mainly tropical and
whitevine. vine milkweed
Slender, herbaceous, climbing vine. Leaves lance-
olate to ovate with rounded base, about 21/2 inches
long. White, waxy flowers borne on long peduncles
in cymes. Pointed fruits (follicles) split to release
typical milkweed seed with long silky hair. A fre-
quent infestant of groves, shrubby vegetation in
noncrop areas, wastelands, and canal banks.
(Composite or Sunflower family)
Herbs, rarely shrubs or vines. Leaves opposite or
alternate, without stipules; blades various.
Flowers in a close head on a common receptacle.
eastern baccharis, groundsel, saltbush
Resinous shrub to more than 10 feet tall, globose
to elliptic in form. Leaf-blades thick, ovate to
elliptic, coarsely toothed, to 2 inches long. White
to pale-yellow flowers at branch tips; adjacent
specimens do not flower simultaneously. Found
on coastal areas, inland, on sandy and on organic
soils; frequently colonizes canal banks.
(Composite or Sunflower family)
Spiny annual herb with alternate, toothed or pin-
natified lightly hairy leaves. Floral stem sparsely
hairy to 3 feet tall. Globular flower heads to 3
inches diameter surrounded by bract-like leaves.
Flowers lavender-purple fading to white. An in-
festant of pastures, roadsides, noncrop areas.
(Composite or Sunflower family)
cressleaf groundsel, butterweed
Succulent winter-spring hairy annual. Bright-
green basal leaf blades up to 8 inches long, pin-
natified, deeply lobed, forming a rosette on the
ground. Leaves at base of the hollow floral stem
and those on the stem are smaller. The stalk up
to 30 inches tall is topped by bright yellow-orange
flower heads about 1 inch diameter. All plant
parts contain an alkaloid toxic to cattle. An in-
festant of pastures, roadsides, noncrop areas.
Twining or trailing herbs, alternate leaves, large,
showy, regular flowers on a jointed peduncle, two
to four seeds in a globose capsule. Mainly tropical
Twining, high-climbing vine with broad ovate to
suborbicular leaf blades 3 to 6 inches long, entire
or hastate with three to five lobes, each tapering
to a point. Flowers white, showy corollas to 3
inches diameter, nocturnal. Colonizes burned-over
Sites, fencerows, shrubs and trees.
Herbs with pungent, watery juice. Flowers with
four petals. Seed attached to membranous mid-
section from which two pod hulls split away. Cos-
mopolitan but largely temperate.
Spring annual with coarse, light-green, semi-
flaccid elliptic to oval leaves up to 15 inches long
and 8 inches across from a basal rosette. Lower
leaves may be coarsely-toothed or indented.
Smooth, waxy floral stem to 5 feet tall bears few
leaves, may be branched, and is topped by bright
yellow flowers up to 1 inch diameter. Seed pod a
silique up to 4 inches long. A host for vegetable
viruses. Common to roadsides and waste or non-
An annual herb with alternate, pinnately divided
leaves to 3 inches long arising from the stem
which may reach 2 feet in height. Whitish petals
longer than sepals. Slender fruit pod, or silique,
about 1 inch long. An infestant of moist crop
fields, lawns, nurseries and noncrop sites.
Succulent herbs or vines with tendrils, leaves al-
ternate, lobed, fruit fleshy. Mainly tropics and
Cucumis melo var. chito
Annual trailing or climbing vine, angled stems
with soft, straight hairs. Leaves rough, sub-
orbicular, lobed, up to 3 inches wide. Yellow flower
about 3/4 inch diameter. Fruit a globular, hairy
berry with greenish-white flesh to 2 inches di-
ameter. Found along fencerows, canal banks and
noncrop sites; occasionally creeping in fields.
Slender creeping or climbing vine. Dark green,
ovate leaves with three to five lobes, rarely ex-
ceeding 2/ inches in width. Yellow flowers 1/4 to
1/2 inch diameter. Green berry generally ovoid,
about 1/2 inch diameter by about 1 inch long. A
host for vegetable crop viruses. Colonizes fence-
rows, ditchbanks, abandoned fields and noncrop
Creeping or climbing slender vine. Light green
leaf blades suborbicular with five to seven deep,
Sctoothed, pointed lobes. Blades may be smooth or
hairy. Yellow flowers about /4 inch diameter usu-
ally borne singly. Fruit a berry up to 3 inches
long, rough, ribbed, ovoid-oblong, orange when
mature. Berry splits to reveal red arils which
conceal white or brown seed. Ripe pod and seed
are poisonous. Plant is a host for vegetable vi-
ruses. A common infestant of fencerows, ditch-
banks, old fields, groves, and noncrop areas.
Herbs with a milky, acrid juice, male and female
flowers, ovary often on a stalk, usually three-
lobed capsule. Cosmopolitan, but mainly tropical.
An herbaceous annual with recurved-spreading
branches ranging to 11/ feet tall. Entire, oppo-
site, elliptic-oblong leaf blades to 1/2 inch long,
light-green above and grey-green below. Greenish
flowers without petals on 1L inch long pedicels.
Common to nurseries and moist, shaded sites.
Bristly-stinging herbs with branched or simple
stems to 3 feet tall. Long, stiff, stinging hairs
abundant over plant with less prominence on
leaves. Simple, alternate leaves with three to five
deep lobes, suborbicular, to 21/2 inches diameter.
White flowers sparse in terminal cymes. Mainly
disturbed sites and crop fields on flatwoods sands.
Herbs with hollow, rounded stems, nodes closed
and hard, leaves alternate, two-ranked. World-
Annual grass with stiff culms, tufted, branching
at decumbent base, with rough, flattened inter-
nodes. Sheaths overlap, leaf blades narrow and
lohg, greenish to purple-brown. Inflorescence nar-
row, slightly spreading, green or purple, 3 to 6
inches long. Spikelets to 1/8 inch long. An infest-
ant of ditches, waste areas, and moist open crop-
Perennial with slender, weak culms to 3 feet long,
tufted on rhizomes with leafy creeping and root-
ing stolons. Rough folded leaf blades to 6 inches
long by 1/4 inch wide with ligule to 1/8 inch long.
Flowering culm upright with open panicle 2 to 4
inches long. An infestant of aquatic and wet
habitats. Although bank-rooted and mainly sub-
merged, will float on surface of water too deep
Aquatic or semiaquatic from widely creeping
stout, hollow rootstocks. Stiff culms range to 4
feet tall. Leaf blades ascending, spreading or tip-
drooping, 10 to 12 inches long by %/8 to 5% inch
wide, hairs on undersurface of leaf. Panicle with
erect racemes, 4 to 7 inches long. Sterile. Found
on banks of waterways, in ditches and ponds, or
moist soil areas.
Annual with stems to 4 feet tall ascending from
a decumbent, rooting base. Leaf sheaths purplish
with lowermost hairy. Leaf blades short and
broad. Racemes 3/4 to 3 inches long with 1/16 inch
spikelets mainly in pairs. Found in moist crop
fields, swamps, and open areas.
p ';. .*. T 4>.
(Grass family) *
Rhynchelytrum repens "
A short-lived perennial with a slender stem to 3 ,'; $ -WI rI V" I ,
feet tall, bent abruptly as it arises from a decum- .'- 1
bent base, roots at nodes. Hairy leaf sheaths '',,t"
shorter than the internodes, leaf blades linear. ..
Panicle above leaves, 2 to 4 inches long, faded tii: r w
red or purple. Found along roadsides, ditchbanks, Wi4,'
old fields and noncrop areas. .- i L
An erect, single or tufted perennial with culms
to 3 feet tall. Leaf blades flat at base, elongate
and taper to a fine point. The 21/2 inch to 10 inch
long panicle is spikelike but may be interrupted
with branches usually erect. At maturity a black
fungal infection often develops on the seed. A
serious competitor of sandy flatwoods, pastures,
common to roadsides, ditchbanks, and noncrop
sites, and a lawn infestant in some areas.
(Legume family) ..
Plants usually with compound leaves and irregu-
lar flowers, with 10 stamens. A single simple pistil
becoming a legume in fruit. Worldwide, especially
warm temperate and tropical zones.
Spreading woody shrub with dark stems to 6 feet
tall. Dark green, smooth, obovate leaflets 1/2 to 1
inch long in three to four pairs, without terminal
leaflet. Flowers showy yellow on racemes from
upper stem axils. Slightly curved, turgid pods are. / "
about 1/ inch wide by 3 to 6 inches long opening
along two seams. An infestant of canal banks, .- s
', (Legume family)
Indigof era hirsuta
S. -hairy indigo
Tough, hairy plants 1 to 2 feet tall arising from
\ stout profuse roots. Basal, decumbent branches
N equal stem in length. Five to nine oblanceolate
S a leaflets, terminal largest, form leaves 3 to 6
inches long. Numerous, short-stalked, orange-red
flowers are borne on 4 to 8 inch racemes. A four-
..- ,angled, hairy legume pod about inch long com-
monly contains 6 to 8 four-sided seeds. An escape
from cultivation as a cover crop to roadsides and
.. S noncrop areas as well as a volunteer weed in crop
A slender-stemmed prostrate or creeping annual
from a stout cordlike root crown. Stems and tri-
foliate leaves hairy. Leaflets three, obovate, about
1 inch long with short petioles. Yellow flowers are
borne on racemes. The slender, 1/8 inch diameter
legume pod is black and curved into a tight spiral.
Found in lawns, roadsides, and noncrop areas. -,..
A creeping, sod-forming perennial with vertical
flower stalks to 1 + foot tall. Trifoliate leaves with
smooth leaflets nearly heart-shaped, to about 1
inch long. White, tubular flowers borne in heads
to %/4 inch diameter, wither and brown at ma-
turity. A cover plant widely escaped.
Trees or shrubs with simple, alternate often aro-
matic leaves, bi- or uni-sexual. Flowers in dense
axillary spikes. Plant or shoot sex variable year
to year. Waxy outer layer of warty drupe (fruit)
common. Temperate and subtropical.
Bushy shrub or tree, globose to highly irregular
to 35 feet tall. Leaves ellipitic-lanceolate, toothed
above middle or entire, 11/2 to 4 inches long but
decreasing in length toward branch tips. Flowers
borne in catkins, female about 3/8 inch long and
male about 50 percent longer. Fruit is globose,
waxy, to 1/4 inch diameter. Common to swamps,
wet sandy sites, ditchbanks, and fencerows as
well as pastureland.
Herbs with alternate or opposite leaves, conspi-
cuous four-angled ovary. Temperate and subtrop-
Erect stems, often woody below, hairy, to 6 feet
tall. Entire leaves 11/2 to 4 inches long, obovate
to lanceolate tapering to sharp podnt. Single con-
spicuous flowers with four yellow petals 1 inch
diameter. Receptacle four-angled, and cylindrical
capsule 1 to 2 inches long. Moist fields, roadsides,
ditchbanks, and similar sites without competition
are common sites.
This species is similar to L. octovalvis, except it
has larger ovate to elliptic leaves to 6 inches long,
flower 11/2 to 2 inches diameter, receptacles four
or five-angled, and cup-shaped capsules to 3/4 inch
Vines with tendrils, most species with showy F
flowers. Mainly tropical.
Climbing vines smooth or with occasional hairs.
Entire to three-lobed leaf blades 11/2 to 4 inches
long. Flowers greenish, no petals, sepals 1/4 to
5/16 inch long, lanceolate. Globose berry to :/8
inch diameter purple-black at maturity. An in-
festant of trees, hedgerows, fencerows, roadsides,
Tall-growing perennial herbs with alternate,
simple, entire leaves, flowers in terminal spikes,
fruit a berry, drupe or achene. Mainly tropical
r* and subtropical.
SStems often straggling with woody base on older
specimens, to 5 feet tall. Often vine-like, especially
in shaded areas. Leaves lanceolate to ovate-elliptic
tapering to a point, to 5 inches long, generally
Shorter. Flower white to pink, less than 1/8 inch
diameter. Fruit a red to scarlet berry up to 1/8
inch diameter. Groves, nurseries, and disturbed
sites, generally moist and shaded areas.
Herbs with simple, alternate leaves, stipules
sheathing stems above swollen nodes. Mainly
north temperate, but cosmopolitan.
Perennial climbing vine with woody lower stems.
Leaves ovate to widely heart-shaped up to 6
inches long. Flowers borne in axillary or terminal
racemes, sepals rose-colored. An infestant of
trees, hedgerows, roadsides.
~tq~ Ru LL-" Ii Rmex crispus
Smooth, annual-perennial herb with fleshy stem
to 3 feet tall. Leaves on lower stem, rosette-like,
elliptic to lanceolate to 12 inches long; simple
with wavy margins. Flower-clusters contiguous
on panicle branches. Fruit winged. Crop fields,
ditchbanks, roadsides, and waste places.
Herbs with colorless pungent juice, alternate
leaves. About 85 genera, 2300+ species, mainly
American tropics but widely distributed.
Perennial, smooth, branching shrub to 10 feet
tall. Heavy elliptical leaves 2 to 4 inches long.
White to greenish-white, tube-like flowers in axil-
lary clusters. Fruit a shiny, blue-black berry
about 5/16 inches diameter. Fencerows, waste
places are infested commonly.
Perennial shrub, or more commonly, a trailing,
climbing vine; stems may have small hairs, barely
visible. Leaves entire, broadly ovate with some
pinnately divided. Spreading, drooping cyme-like
inflorescence with blue to lavender corolla about
3/4 inch diameter. Mature red berry almost glob-
ular, about %/8 inch diameter. Found in fruit-tree
groves, hedgerows, and waste areas.
Often aromatic herbs with small flowers in um-
bels, leaf petioles usually sheathing.
Perennial herb with prostrate creeping stems.
Simple leaves borne on reddish hairy pronounced
petioles arising from stem nodes. Leaves erect,
i to 2 inches long, ovate with rounded base and
broad tip. Inconspicuous white flowered umbels
on stems of variable length. Common infestant of
lawns, nurseries, and shaded moist sandy-soil
Slender, erect, branched annual herb, 2 or more
feet tall from diffuse root system. Leaves light-
green; seedling leaves filiform, undivided, 3 to 6
inches long; cauline leaves pinnately divided.
Minute white flowers borne mainly in terminal
umbels. Organic soils and moist sandy-soil sites,
crop and noncrop areas alike.
wild celery, marsh parsley
Smooth stemmed annual to 2 feet tall, branched ,
above, from tap-root system. Leaves divided in .
threes, broad lower leaves with upper leaves
nearly linear or filiform, variable. Umbels with. .
few, small white flowers borne mainly in leaf .. s
axils. Crop and noncrop areas on moist sandy and .. '
organic soils. .r
Herbs or shrubs usually with stinging hairs.
Leaves simple, opposite or alternate. Flowers
small, unisexual. Temperate and tropical.
Hairy winter annual with spreading stem and
branches, 15 to 18 inches tall. Leaves opposite,
blades toothed, elliptic to ovate with rounded base
to 11/ inches long, and with pronounced petioles.
Hairs stinging. Flowers greenish-white, incon-
spicuous. A pest of pastures, lawns, crop fields
and waste places.
Trailing or climbing woody vines with tendrils,
alternate compound leaves. Wide temperate and
Climbing vine attaching itself to support by disks
at ends of branched tendrils. Leaves palmately
compound with five oval or elliptic leaflets to 5
inches long, saw-toothed margin, borne on long
petioles. Small greenish flowers on panicles from
upper axils or terminal. Berries dark blue to black
with bloom, to 3/8 inch diameter. Hedgerows,
fencerows, thickets, and telephone poles are com-
PHOTOS: J. R. Orsenigo cressleaf groundsel (cover), Asiatic pennywort (p. 17), chito melon (p. 9),
Christmas senna (p. 13), coralvine (p. 16), corky-stemmed passionflower (p. 15), creeping cucumber (p.
9), cressleaf groundsel (p. 7), day-blooming jessamine (p. 17), eastern baccharis (p. 7), Indian mustard
(p. 8), junglerice (p. 11), maidencane (p. 11), mockbishopweed (p. 18), moonflower (p. 8), phyllanthus
(p. 10), primrosewillow (p. 15), saw palmetto (p. 6), Small's thistle (p. 7), smutgrass (p. 12), southern
cutgrass (p. 11), Virginia creeper (p. 19), white clover (p. 14), whitevine (p. 6), and wild celery (p.
18) ; D. S. Burgis Brazilian peppertree (p. 5), gallberry (p. 5); W. L. Curry bull paspalum (p. 12),
hairy indigo (p. 13), natal grass (p. 12), southern waxmyrtle (p. 14), and tread softly (p. 10); Joe M.
Leps black medic (p. 13); W. T. Scudder--burning nettle (p. 18), curley dock (p. 16), Pennsylvania
bittercress (p. 9) ; T. J. Stelter balsamapple (p. 10), Brazilian nightshade (p. 17), rougeplant (p. 16).
Editor: JoAnn Bell Pierce
Graphic Design: Ashley M. Wood
Diane Marie Dormady
I UNIVERSITY 0